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How recruiting software firms help close the diversity gap

Sharon Florentine | March 24, 2015
Gamergate and the Ellen Pao trial are two of the most recent examples of the IT industry's ugly side, not to mention some of the most widely publicized instances of discrimination. But IT isn't all harassment and misogyny. The same incubator environment that's spawned some horrific examples of bias also has given rise to firms that are using technology to actively increase diversity in IT.

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Gamergate and the Ellen Pao trial are two of the most recent examples of the IT industry's ugly side, not to mention some of the most widely publicized instances of discrimination. But IT isn't all harassment and misogyny. The same incubator environment that's spawned some horrific examples of bias also has given rise to firms that are using technology to actively increase diversity in IT.

Diverse companies are stronger companies, says Jon Bishke, CEO of Entelo; they're more innovative, productive, claim greater market share and higher profitability. Companies that actively seek out candidates from diverse gender, ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds also have lower employee turnover rates than those that are more homogeneous.

Bishke's firm, Entelo, includes a diversity module within its data-driven recruiting solution. Entelo Diversity is a Web crawler that uses a proprietary algorithm to aggregate profiles from publicly available information and make diversity a key component of the recruiting process, Bischke says.

"It uses what's already indexed to create a more in-depth profile of a candidate, and then look at certain data points that could signal whether candidates are male, female, Hispanic, a veteran, " Bischke says. For example, is the candidate a member of the NAACP? That could signal they're African-American or, if the candidate was a member of a sorority during their college years, the assumption's made that they are female.

Tools like Entelo Diversity also help connect candidates with firms they might not otherwise consider. Candidates from underrepresented groups are more likely to consider your business as a potential workplace if they know you support a culture of inclusion, Bishke says.

"People who fall into underrepresented groups don't want to go work for a company that doesn't represent them. And if you're not focusing on diversity, you have a disadvantage when attracting the best talent; sure, maybe you can get the best white male talent, but not necessarily the best talent available, if you're overlooking these underrepresented groups," Entelo says.

Piazza
"Technology has allowed access to a much wider, deeper talent pool," says Jessica Gilmartin, chief business officer for online social learning platform and recruiting solution Piazza. "Businesses can't possibly talk to every single available candidate at a job fair or a recruiting event. They can't afford to spend exorbitant amounts for travel, in-person interviews, that sort of thing. But now, they have tools that let them say, 'I'm looking for every woman who will graduate with a computer science degree this year, who's taking advanced algorithms, knows C++ and Java,' for example."

Piazza began as an online social learning platform to help professors, teaching assistants and students -- especially female computer science students -- collaborate at any time of the day or night.

 

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